This morning I spoke with Bill Calder and Ken Kaplan about the project (http://freepress.intel.com). Here are some notes from our conversation:
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- With all the changes happening in media, journalists are having to cover a lot of beats and they don’t have the time to do in-depth reporting on Intel, or much in-depth reporting at all. It is frustrating because there are some great stories within Intel that aren’t being told.
- We know we have the expertise in-house to report on these stories so we thought “why not do it ourselves?” We have people on Intel’s communications team that are former journalists so we put together a team, that includes us and one or two others, to try and tell these stories.
- Our communications team, for good or bad, is very focused on product launches. But there are so many other stories to tell. Intel is a very large company with many interesting projects, and people.
- It is very much a dream position for us, we’ve been talking within Intel about doing something like this and its great to be able to have the resources to launch this venture.
- Anyone is free to use the stories from Intel Free Press. Our goal is to have some of the largest news sites running these stories, in whole, or in part.
- Our biggest challenge is credibility. People tend to distrust corporate blogs, so we have to show that our stories are fair, and high quality, so that people trust us.
- Our goal isn’t to compete with other news sites, we aren’t going to do a deep dive into the technology or benchmarking our chips. It’s about telling stories that haven’t been told yet. For example, a story on our VP of Investor Relations (Caught in the Crossfire: Intel’s Investor Relations Chief – SVW)
- We will also write about our partners, showing some of the interesting things they are doing. There will be a wide variety of stories every week.
- We have a team of about 15 people that produce “Circuits.” This is written for Intel employees and only available internally. There is a lot of great content there that we will publish on Free Press.
- Intel Free Press will be our main job. We may expand the team by bringing in outside contributors, other journalists. We want to create a media brand that is clearly distinguished from the rest.
- We decided not to use bylines so that we can use one voice and give it more of a news agency feel. And that should make it easier for other publishers if they want to re-use all, or part of, our stories. They don’t even have to attribute it to Intel.
- Success will be measured by the uptake in search results and also the stories being re-used by major media outlets. And that should also lead to bloggers linking to the stories.
- We’ve set up Free Press as being separate from the Intel newsroom although there is a link from the newsroom.
- You can follow Intel Free Press on Twitter: @IntelFreePress.
It’s great to see a large company taking this step and willing to experiment with new approaches to communications. I recently spoke with Cisco, and it too is following a very similar strategy, wanting to produce a news magazine with stories sourced from within Cisco but not focused directly on Cisco.
It’s good that Intel has established a separate brand for this venture because that will help it track its progress and also help establish credibility outside of the main newsroom. Credibility will be established over time and by consistent, high quality content.
Some news organisations might see Intel Free Press as a competitor. It is possible that they might not cover a story, for example the one on Intel’s VP of Investor Relations, because Intel has already written that story. I was on a Bulldog Reporter panel last year with Kara Swisher, the former Wall Street Journal columnist and now at All Things D, and she was berating companies for posting a news announcement on their own website, saying that she wanted the scoop. Intel Free Press won’t be writing those types of stories so Kara should be OK with that.
I’m looking forward to tracking this venture and seeing how it is received by other news organisations.